Search is on to find traveller pitches

The Strand in central London was cordoned-off after some 1,450 people were evacuated from a nightclub and a hotel following a gas leak. Picture: London Fire Brigade/PA Wire

NATIONAL: 1,450 people evacuated in central London following gas leak

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EFFORTS to ease tension between travellers and local communities has left a council with the task of finding nearly 60 pitches.

Chichester District Council has been set the highest target – 59 – of any authority in coastal West Sussex.

A council report stated that the traveller population in Chichester was higher than other authorities in the area.

Chichester, which did not include provision for pitches in its draft Local Plan earlier this year, has now been advised by West Sussex County Council to find at least 37 of the temporary pitches by 2017.

The report led to debate at a cabinet meeting, with Cllr Josef Ransley expressing concern about where the new pitches would be provided.

He said: ‘I hope we aren’t being opportunistic and providing these camps in areas of least resistance.’

Council leader Heather Caird said the council needed to take urgent action over site provision. She said: ‘The county council is aware of the problem and we need to move it forward.’